Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advent Reflection - Hope

I found this Advent reflection for week one on hope and LOVED it - I want to remember it. I really resonate with the distinction the writer makes between hope and optimism. Read the whole article here.
The Christian virtue of hope is different from optimism. Optimism usually
refers to a positive outlook on life based on favorable signs. The outlook is
good. And optimism often refers to what we believe we can accomplish or
bring about through our own efforts. Christian hope is something much deeper
and more substantial than that. Saint Thomas Aquinas, the great 13th century
theologian, once spoke of hope in a very simple way. He said that hope means
“clinging to God as the source of absolute goodness.” The virtue of hope
enables us to face the reality of our lives. It allows us to address even the
difficult and disheartening aspects of life – the conflicts in our families, the
reality of illness, the pain of loss, our economy and joblessness. But hope
moves us to face those realities while clinging to God -- holding on to the
hand of God -- who is the source of absolute goodness.
The virtue of hope is for those times that don’t look very hopeful. It means an
abiding in God as the One Who knows all about us, Who is closer to us than
we are to ourselves. This is the God Who walks with us through whatever
difficulties we have to face. This is the God Who is sheer goodness and
Whose goodness will have the final word in our lives. It is this virtue of hope
– clinging to God as the source of absolute goodness – that enables us to
keep going in the present.
During the weeks of Advent before the celebration of Christmas, it would be
good if we asked the Lord to renew the gift of hope in our lives. Let us ask
Christ to help us cling more closely to Him as the Source of absolute
goodness. Advent is also a season in which we need to ask ourselves whether
we are signs of hope to others. Through what we say and do, by the way we
relate to others, do we offer hope to those who may be discouraged,
disillusioned or just overburdened by life? Do we make the effort to encourage
others during their difficult times? When people talk to us, do they come away
from that conversation with a little more hope? Do I, even in the ordinary
interactions of life, reflect a ray of the absolute goodness that God is?
As we pray together at the Eucharist, we make memory of the Lord Jesus Who
came to us once as a child and Who will come again in glory. He is the
Redeemer Who was sent by the Father because of God’s pure goodness. As we
receive Christ in the Eucharist, may we cling to Him each day and become a
more luminous sign of hope to the world.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Psalm 19

Psalm 19[a]
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The decrees of the LORD are firm,
and all of them are righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

AMEN and AMEN! I want to memorize this Psalm

Monday, July 11, 2011

Think Biblically

I was listening to a Chuck Swindoll podcast tonight. He was preaching on Romans 12:1-2 - God has been challenging me with this passage lately - so I was anxious to hear his thoughts on the passage. He defines transformation as:
Transformation is a deliberate determination to think Biblically and act accordingly!
WOW - Lord, let me live that way!
He says that Romans 12:1-2 contains cooperative commands - it requires something of us and we must rely on the Holy Spirit to make it happen.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A New Thing

Tonight I spent some time with my dear friend, Lesa. She is a gem and I feel so blessed to call her friend. She is one of those friends who doesn't need to hurry me through whatever state I'm in - stressed, sad, happy, excited, fearful - no matter - she will listen and be there with me.
Along this road to adoption, I've experienced so many disappointments, bumps and bruises - and some wonderful high points as well. As I inch ever closer to getting my little Lovebug home, I find myself expecting the worst - bracing myself for more disappointment. I've moved into this space of catastrophizing....UGH!
I was reading on my firend Alan's blog tonight about repentance and he posted these verses from Isaiah...
Isaiah 43:18-21 (New International Version, ©2010)

18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
20 The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
21 the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.

Oh, how these verses are a balm to my weary soul! Lord, how I need to foget the former things, choosing not to dwell on the past and instead focus on this new thing you are doing in my life...you are the provider of water and streams in a very dry place in my life. I proclaim your praise!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Renunciation and Reliance

I've been reading "The Discipline of Grace" by Jerry Bridges. I am really resonating and finding myself both convicted and encouraged by his thoughts on our daily need for the gospel of grace.
On page 50 he gives a definition of faith.
"Faith itself has no merit: in fact, by its nature, it is self emptying. It involves our complete renunciation of any confidence in our own righteousness and a relying entirely on the perfect righteousness and death of Jesus Christ."
Renunciation and reliance...that is an amazing definition of faith. He goes on to say that, "faith in Christ and a reliance on ourselves, even to the smallest degree, are mutually exclusive."
How does one live this out? A daily renouncing of my own goodness, that I have anything to offer and a relying entirely on Jesus Christ. I want to pursue that.